(The main entrance of Edward J. Ray Hall | Photo courtesy of Oregon-State University-Cascades)
On September 1, a ceremony was held on the Oregon State University-Cascades campus in Bend to celebrate the grand opening of the school’s second academic building, the 55,000-square-foot Edward J. Ray Hall. The facility will serve the STEAM disciplines of science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics, and sets the campus standard for sustainability with its net-zero energy, water and waste goals.
Oregon State University Interim President Becky Johnson and OSU President Emeritus Ed Ray joined the celebration marking the opening of the building, which sits on a reclaimed former pumice mine property. “I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to be back here,” said Johnson during the ceremony. “Today’s grand opening wouldn’t be possible without hundreds of people, including community members who traveled hours each way to testify for three minutes to the governor about the need for OSU-Cascades.”
OSU-Cascades is the first new university campus in Oregon in 50 years, Johnson said, and has supported many Central Oregon Community College students on a pathway to affordable degrees. “It wasn’t always easy and fun, and for the first year, some residents weren’t happy. But OSU-Cascades is now growing and strong.”
Edward J. Ray Hall was named after Ray, who served as Oregon State’s president for 17 years through June 2020 and was instrumental in the establishment of OSU-Cascades. The building is light and bright, with innovative design features, regionally sourced mass timber construction and heating and cooling fueled by geothermal energy. David Webb, project manager with architect SRG Partnership, said the building is a “celebration of wood,” adding, “The structure is in modules, so walls can be taken down at any time to change instructional spaces.” All the building’s mechanicals are contained to the corridors so that the classrooms are primarily wide opens paces with only wood exposed.
Within the four-story facility, there are seven general classrooms, 12 laboratories, maker spaces for art, computer science, engineering and outdoor product programs, a machine shop, collaborative spaces for informal and formal studying, quiet spaces for faculty and student conversations, office spaces and meeting rooms. Views of Bend, Awbrey Butte, surrounding trees and mountains from every window create an inspiring environment for students and faculty.
“This ceremony has significance to me that goes back almost 50 years,” said Ray. “In late 2008 and early 2009, there were two events that led to OSU-Cascades, one bad and one good: the Great Recession and unemployment rate of 24 percent, and Becky Johnson beginning her service as leader of OSU-Cascades. Both drove home the need for a skilled workforce in Central Oregon.” He continued, “Becky developed a to-do list. She understood that OSU-Cascades had to be destination university with specialized degrees, not just a substitute for OSU Corvallis. I cannot understate how honored I am to have a building of this caliber carry my name. I know the best is yet to come for OSU-Cascades.”